I think it was my upbringing. But I’ve always been game for anything when it comes to food. Mom and Dad just raised me to try everything at least once.
The first time we ate at the beach in Thailand, I remember trying a piece from the plate of horseshoe crab that my parents were served. The insect-like crustacean was cooked and turned on its back with its eggs tossed in a lime-fish sauce dressing and scattered about with slivers of green mango. I wish I remember what it tasted like. I do remember that we were only supposed to eat the eggs.
On my only trip to France, I got to try rabbit and on a trip to what was then West Germany, I got to try wild boar sausage. When we lived in Singapore, I fell in love with blood cockles.
So when a good friend of ours, Lowell Ford, called late last winter with an offer of goose, I was game. The catch: I had to butcher them myself. I’ll spare you the details but his advice was to simply remove the breasts and use those so I wouldn’t have to deal with removing all the feathers and innards. I had only cooked goose once before. Lured by stories of how the English roasted goose and served them for Christmas, I found a recipe online, ordered a bird and roasted it and served it to our Christmas company. They loved it. I was mixed. It was just a little bit too gamey for my taste. But I was determined to give goose another try.
So I decided this time to use it in a stew, with lots of beef broth and pinot noir (everything tastes better with Oregon wine in my book). I added carrots, onion, golden chanterelle mushrooms, barley and celery root to give the dish an Oregon winter flavor. And I hoped that stewing the goose meat would tone down its gaminess.
It was definitely a hit. Since it’s rare that you’re going to be offered a whole goose, you can get goose leg quarters by ordering them from the butcher at Roth’s Fresh Markets or from Fitts Seafood. And if you’re just not that adventurous, you can simply substitute duck leg quarters.
A good wine to pair with this dish is the 2012 Eyrie Vineyards Pinot Noir.
Rustic Goose or Duck Stew
Serves 4 to 6
- 8 tablespoons (one stick) of butter
- 4 goose leg quarters or 4 duck leg quarters
- 2 sweet yellow onions, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 pound golden chanterelle mushrooms (small ones left whole, large ones sliced in half)
- 2 teaspoons dried marjoram
- 4 cups beef broth
- 1 bottle pinot noir
- Salt and ground white or black pepper to taste
- 2 celery root, peeled and cubed
- 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup pearled barley
- Chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
- In a large Dutch oven or stock pot, melt butter over medium/high heat and sear goose or duck leg quarters, turning until browned. Drain and remove legs to a plate and set aside.
- Add onions and sauté until the onions begin to turn translucent. Add mushrooms and lower heat to medium, stirring occasionally until mushrooms begin to throw off their moisture and begin to soften. Add marjorum, beef broth, wine salt and pepperb stir and bring to a simmer. Add back leg quarters, cover, lower heat to low and simmer for two hours.
- Remove leg quarters and remove meat from the bones, shredding larger pieces. Add barley to pot, return duck or goose meat to pot. Add carrots and celery root and stir. Cover and simmer over low heat for another hour.
- Turn off heat, ladle into bowls and serve with chopped parsley for garnish and a sourdough loaf or baguette to dip into the stew.
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